IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Adverse clearings in a monetary system with multiple note issuers: the case of Italy (1861-1893)


  • Giuseppina Gianfreda

    () (Università della Tuscia, Via San Carlo 32, 01100, Viterbo, Italy)

  • Fabrizio Mattesini

    (Università di Roma "Tor Vergata", Via Columbia 2, 00133, Rome, Italy)


We study the regime of multiple note issuers that characterized the Italian monetary system from the unification of Italy in 1861 to the creation of the Bank of Italy in 1893. We describe how the system evolved and we analyze how it functioned by studying the clearing of notes among banks. Since by law banknotes had to be redeemed at par, we focus on the ability of banks to keep notes in circulation before redemption. We estimate adverse clearings of notes issued by the dominant bank [Banca Nazionale degli Stati Sardi (BNS)] in the provinces where this bank had branches and we find that the entry of a smaller issuer limited the BNS’s capacity to keep its notes in circulation at the local level. We take this as evidence that competition in note issuance worked as an effective discipline device. Our results are consistent with the analysis of Pareto (Journal des économistes 3–28, 1893) who maintained that the fall of the Italian system was not due to the failure of the competitive mechanism, but rather to the altering of the rules of the game by the government.

Suggested Citation

  • Giuseppina Gianfreda & Fabrizio Mattesini, 2015. "Adverse clearings in a monetary system with multiple note issuers: the case of Italy (1861-1893)," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 9(1), pages 1-25, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:9:y:2015:i:1:p:1-25

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to journal subscribers

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:cliomt:v:11:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11698-016-0143-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Vittorio Daniele & Pasquale Foresti & Oreste Napolitano, 2017. "The stability of money demand in the long-run: Italy 1861–2011," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 11(2), pages 217-244, May.

    More about this item


    Adverse clearings; Par redemption; Competing monies;

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:9:y:2015:i:1:p:1-25. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.